Interviews can be intimidating to say the least – as a candidate, your fate at the company in question is in the hands of the hiring manager who is openly judging your qualifications in no uncertain terms. Due to this imbalance in power, it can be difficult for candidates to make personal connections with their interviewers. First impressions play a powerful role in job interviews, so pushing your nerves aside to relate to the interviewer on a personal level can make a major difference. Keep these tips on how to connect with your interviewer in mind for your next interview:
Do your homework prior to the interview. If possible, find out the name of your interviewer so you can research them beforehand. Look for mentions of your interviewer on the company website, LinkedIn, or other professional sources. Having background knowledge can make it easier to connect because you can see the interviewer as a real person.
Follow the Lead
Let your interviewer set the tone for the interaction. Pay attention to their personality, tone, and speech to get a feel for the most effective way to connect. For example, a lighthearted interviewer may respond better to humorous anecdotes in your answers, while a more serious tone may indicate that being businesslike would be more effective. Remember: this isn’t about changing your personality or being insincere, it’s about knowing your audience and adjusting accordingly.
Make it Interactive
Don’t get caught up in the typical scenario in which the interviewer asks all of the questions and you just answer and wait until the next round. Instead, make it an actual discussion in order to create a personal connection. Don’t save your questions until the end – speak up and interject your questions as they pertain to the flow of the conversation.
Actively listening refers to the process of focusing on the speaker and demonstrating that you’re paying attention and want them to continue. Candidates often are so busy thinking of what they’re going to say next, that they are distracted and not truly listening. Maintain eye contact, nod or use encouraging words when the interviewer pauses, and occasionally rephrase what the interviewer said in your own words before you give your response.
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